iConnect is a part of a bigger effort at Deloitte around "enabling people connections." iConnect gives people connections to expertise. The next step is connecting people to business functions and affinity groups. And beyond that, they are looking at social network analysis. He thought they might use different tools to do the analysis, but I hope at least part of the underlying data for the analysis can come from the behaviors mediated by the system.
The basic technology behind Tacit is that it monitors email traffic and extract key words and phrases from your communications (including attachments) to build a profile of sorts. This usually gets people thinking Big Brother. Stuart emphasized a number of times the pains to which they went to limit this perception. While company email belongs to the company, the way this system works isn't appropriate for individual email content analysis. The first instantiation of the project doesn't list names in response to queries. Rather it shows a number of likely topics and will then forward a query to people who have been associated with that topic behind the scenes - the system brokers a connection. Similarly, the legal risk about yet another email repository aren't there due to the way and form in which the data is kept. I noticed his mentioning these issues a number of times throughout the presentation.
One of the interesting things about the way the technology works is that there is no controlled vocabulary or taxonomy. (There is a mechanism for "translations" for common acronyms.) It is all based on what people are writing in their email communications. As such, new topics should get picked up fairly quickly, and topics that have lost currency tend to fade from view.
While there weren't many people in the physical locations, there were many people on the phone, including a representative from Tacit Software and people from New Jersey and Florida. I wasn't able to pay attention to the entire meeting for the same reason the speaker was slightly distracted - the kiddos. But I like the approach they have been taking.